A thriving community

A collaboration of arts, business, education and government leaders will develop an actionable plan based on our vibrant arts, history, and cultural resources which will enhance the Saranac Lake area’s reputation as a special place on the planet to visit, work, study, raise a family, and retire. Implementation will build new markets, revitalize downtown, and help artists not just survive, but thrive. Fostering the creative economy will increase tourism, benefit the region’s businesses and foster further private investment. It will exemplify to other communities across New York how the arts can lead community growth.

An artist's easel holds a painting of Main Street in Saranac Lake with shops behind it
An artist's portrait of Main Street in Saranac Lake


The Village of Saranac Lake, with partners in public, private, education, arts, and cultural sectors, will build on the foundation of this area’s history and vibrant, diverse cultural community, to develop a collaborative Arts and Culture Master Plan which will provide actionable strategies for strengthening the arts, artists, and economy in the area and make the Saranac Lake Area a world-class destination for arts and culture. It will:

  • Provide actionable strategies to assist artists in forming partnerships with businesses, finding outside funding for projects, and collaborating with other artists on new creative ventures
  • Leverage the area’s unique assets including over 50 studios and galleries, a 38-year-old professional theatre, historic district, and a location on travel routes including the Olympic Scenic Byway and Great Northern Forest Canoe Route
  • Outline enhanced walking and driving tours that bring new audiences to studios and galleries
  • Identify infrastructure improvements to enhance the experience of visiting museums and arts venues
  • Develop new shoulder season events which will improve quality of life for residents and artists, and extend the tourism season
  • Identify and develop solutions for the diverse musical arts such as marketing and scheduling coordination
  • Encompass healing and culinary arts.
  • Engage and educate the community around existing and potential impact of the arts
  • Integrate with festivals and competitions as envisioned by Adirondack International Artworks
  • Benefit from existing and planned investments such as Hotel Saranac
  • Build on downtown revitalization initiatives including planned Arts Center
  • Using consultants with expertise in arts planning, we will understand assets, collect and assess priorities and project ideas, and prioritize strategies to engage new audiences, increase tourism, and harness the power of the creative economy to revitalize downtown

A man sits behind a table holding children's books


A group representing arts and culture organizations in the area developed a Request for Proposal (RFP). We received six responses, asked additional questions specific to each respondent, checked references, and after discussion and careful evaluation chose AMS Planning and Research consultants. They bring great experience in arts master plans to complement the input of the broad range of stakeholders, and have existing knowledge of Saranac Lake due to prior work here. 

A key element of their work was to hold interviews with stakeholders which would include artists, performance organizations such as music and theater, historical organizations, educators, and patrons. The plan included measurements as well as a market assessment of demand, including full time and seasonal residents and visitors. The plan was completed in 2018.

AMS Planning and Research has completed the following reports:

Potential Outcomes:

  • A community of artists that doesn’t just survive, but thrives.
  • A reputation for the arts, activities, and events that increases tourism and attracts creative business owners and employees.
  • More customers for new and existing businesses.
  • Increased job opportunities (arts and tourism).
  • Increased access to arts and culture for students, veterans, seniors, and low-income residents.
  • Success metrics will use the most current NEA Creative Placemaking methods, with collaboratively developed rubric

    A woman plays a hammered dulcimer at an arts festival
    A woman plays a hammered dulcimer

To accomplish this, the plan will:

  • List actionable strategies reached through collaboration among stakeholders (arts/culture, education, business, government).
  • Cover visual, performing, literary, and healing arts as well as museums and cultural offerings.
  • Build on proven strengths of existing institutions and events including Saranac Lake Artworks, Historic Saranac Lake, Pendragon Theatre, BluSeed Studios, First Night Saranac Lake, Art Walks, Plein Air Festival.
  • Encompass the many existing proposals including the Community Arts Center, Cinema Saranac Lake, Regional Arts Trail, and others.
  • Reflect existing planning documents, downtown revitalization, and regional economic priorities.
  • Be locally centered and regionally inclusive.
  • Establish a baseline for measurement based on community aspirations.
(518) 354-5441
48 Main St
Saranac Lake, NY 12983
For nearly 50 years the Waterhole has bringing good music and good times to the Adirondacks. A friendly Saranac Lake bar open seven nights a week, the waterhole also brings in regional and national touring bands on a regular basis. In the summer don't...
(917) 887-7149
421 Lake Flower Avenue
Saranac Lake, NY 12983
Offerings will range from music performances to film screenings to life drawing sessions. Lake Flower Landing is a shared space that also includes art and design studios. A reading room is open by appointment and includes art and design books...
(518) 619-1000
19 Broadway
Saranac Lake, NY 12983
Serving hand-carved sandwiches and salad bowls (with or without hand-carved meats).
(518) 524-1849
Saranac Lake, NY 12983
ArtWorks is a not-for-profit collaboration of individual artists, galleries, theaters, and other arts-related organizations in the Adirondacks and North Country regions. With the goal of promoting our communities through the arts, ArtWorks celebrates...
(518) 832-0081
182 Lake Street
Saranac Lake, NY 12983
Painting the "forever wild" views of the Adirondack Mountains. Painting in oils and watercolors, Saranac Lake artist Sandra Hildreth is inspired by the wild views of the Adirondacks. Primarily working on location, "en plein air", Hildreth hikes...
(518) 354-1875
85 Main Street
Saranac Lake, NY 12983
NorthWind Fine Arts Gallery opened its doors in June, 2011, and is one of the many exceptional art galleries in Saranac Lake. It is a cooperative gallery with an eclectic group of members showcasing a wide range of media. The gallery moved into its...
(518) 891-1139
76 Main Street
Saranac Lake, NY 12983
Tim Fortune has been painting oils and watercolors of the Adirondacks for many years. His varied techniques and imagery have been displayed for the past 23 years in his downtown gallery at 76 Main St. Also on display is the artist working on his...
(518) 891-3799
24 Cedar Street
Saranac Lake, NY 12983
Bluseed Studios was a neglected 1930 industrial warehouse that has been transformed into an exciting visual and performing arts facility. Operating since 2002 as a not-for-profit organization, Bluseed has Ceramic, Printmaking and Framing studios, a...
(518) 891-2615
52 Main Street
Saranac Lake, NY 12983
Located on Main Street in the heart of the village, the Adirondack Artists Guild is a co-op gallery featuring the works of 15 member artists who reside in or have a deep connection to the Adirondacks. Fine art, jewelry and ceramics showcase the vitality,
Exterior of the Adirondack Artists Guild gallery with its large storefront windows lit up from the inside
Main St
Saranac Lake, NY 12983
Berkeley Green is located in the middle of downtown Saranac Lake, at the intersection of Broadway and Main streets, which makes this relaxing place more than a park -- it's a gathering space.
Riverside Park
Saranac Lake, NY 12983
The bugs are back in Saranac Lake! Don't worry- these bugs don't bite. In fact, they are here to play! This summer, you're invited to participate in the Bug Crawl of Saranac Lake! This educational scavenger hunt brings fun to kids and kids-at-heart...
Piece by Piece Studio
(518) 649-7227
30 Bloomingdale Ave
Saranac Lake, NY 12983